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Aired March 14th 1965
Stingray (1964 — 1965) is a children’s marionette television show, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by AP Films for ATV and ITC Entertainment. Its 39 half-hour episodes were originally screened on ITV in the UK and syndication in the US. The scriptwriters included Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Alan Fennell (who went on to write Thunderbirds), and Dennis Spooner. Barry Gray composed the music, and Derek Meddings was the special effects director.
Stingray was the first Supermarionation show to be filmed in colour, and also the first in which marionettes had interchangeable heads with different facial expressions. It was also the first British television programme to be filmed entirely in colour (the earlier The Adventures of Sir Lancelot having only been made in colour from halfway through its run). At the time the US networks were gearing up for full-time colour broadcasting, although Independent Television in Britain did not begin colour transmission until November 1969.
Supercar had featured a vehicle that could travel on land, sea and air, and Fireball XL5 featured a spaceship. The next logical step was a series about a submarine, which presented a number of technical challenges.
Scenes featuring model submarines or marionettes underwater were actually filmed on a dry set, with the camera looking through a narrow water tank containing air bubblers and fish of different sizes to simulate perspective, thereby creating a convincing illusion that the models or puppets were underwater. This was enhanced with lighting effects that gave the impression of shafts of light refracted through the surface of the sea.
Scenes on the ocean’s surface were filmed using a large tank filled with water and blue dye. To prevent the edges of the tank from showing it was deliberately overfilled so that the water would constantly spill over the edges and conceal them. These techniques proved so successful that they were also used for underwater scenes in Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.